So as we get back into covering RPG’s and I get back to gamemastering I had a question pop into my head about the relationship of the characters to bigoted antagonists. There are always the standard villains for RPG’s like dragons with treasure or the EVIL lord who just wants to conquer or kill every – because well just because. But there is also a long history of setting protagonists who have an intolerant bent to their evil, be they nazi zombies, white supremicists or humans ruling over elves (like in Dragon age). This leads to a complicated question about how to include such things in a gaming world when there is so much of this behavior in the real world and it might be directly impacting your players in their day to day life.
There are two main schools of thought on this issue. The first is don’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Some of your players will have had a week where they had to worry about being harrassed by authorities for having the wrong skin color or being chased out of using a bathroom and the last thing they need is for you to roleplay a city guard refusing to let them in because they are a tiefling. . This also can put a strain on you as a gamemaster. You might not find it good for your mental health to get into a mindset of attacking people just because the NPC does not like “those kinds of people ” I mean avoiding that was the reason you thought about deleting your twitter account.
On the other hand there is a catharsis in defeating the forces that represent the evils of the world. Toppling Sauron is all well and good but there is a visceral joy in a world war two game and mowing down the SS or playing a superhero that gets to punch out a super villain team from the Aryan brotherhood . It can give you joy and a little more confidence in your day to day life having faced the situation in a more controlled environment.
These two are not mutually exclusive in any shape or form but I think the really important thing is for you to talk to your players. Having a session zero is always a good idea and that is the time to bring things up. What are people’s triggers , what kinds of situations are acceptable and not acceptable, is it okay to run a few individuals or can we have the whole campaign focused on throwing down the evil terfs of section 28. The point of all gaming is for everyone to have a good time telling good stories and that can’t happen if someone is feeling like they are being attacked. You are the gamemaster but it is not just your game, it is everyone’s game.
A good resource for this is from Monte Cook games